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Critics Review
The Forever Purge movie review: A vacuous addition to the dystopian horror franchise

Unlike the previous movies that throbbed with a biting cynicism, The Forever Purge, now streaming on Book My Show Stream, is a portrait of empty sentimentality with few insights.

2.0
Pratishruti Ganguly
Nov 25, 2021
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Story: Two illegal immigrants from Mexico are caught in the maelstrom of the Purge movement after it is reinstated by the New Founding Fathers of America

A lot of how one perceives Everardo Gout’s The Forever Purge, the latest addition to the Purge franchise, rests heavily on how they perceive the franchise itself. Is it angry social commentary, satire or just a wish-fulfilment fantasy for unbridled violence? For this writer, what started out as a genuine attempt at dystopian horror/slasher, has steadily veered into gratuitous territory. The social issue The Forever Purge focuses on, is how white supremacist purgers weed out their country of immigrants in order to maintain the country’s purity.

In this film, the powerless are two undocumented immigrants from Mexico Adela (Ana de la Reguera) and Juan (Tenoch Huerta). They sneak into Texas and settle into their jobs at a meat-packing factory and a ranch, respectively. Adela believes America is the promised land of opportunities, and prods her husband to learn better English so as to ‘fit better’ with their present milieu. Juan’s employer Caleb Tucker (Will Patton) is seemingly a tolerant man, but his son Dylan (Josh Lucas) is evidently racist. Much like the ‘good Muslim’ trope used generously by Bollywood films, most recently seen in Akshay Kumar’s cop actioner Sooryavanshi, these immigrants are also sanctified good immigrants. Both Adela and Juan are experts at their respective jobs. Juan is arguably better at being a cowboy than the racist Tucker scion, and Adela is a textbook model citizen who is both diligent and kind-hearted.

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Elsewhere, the government-sanctioned murder spree is about to begin. For someone not aware of or acquainted with the franchise, there is a lengthy exposition that explains the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA)’s annual Purge system. Under this regime, US citizens are legally allowed to commit crimes, even murder, for 12 hours during one day of every year. While the dreaded night arrived soon enough, the carnage miraculously skips the protagonists’ family.

Violence is a Purge franchise mainstay. And a welcome mainstay at that for most. But what happens when the socio-political aspect of the film feels superficial? From dealing with the plight of the have-nots — in this case the Mexican couple — The Forever Purge shifts to identify what it is like for wealthy white families in the US to be chased and hunted down. Further, for a film that purportedly critiques systemic violence, the normalisation of violence in the film almost feels hypocritical and gratuitous.

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Even the frenzied cinematography begins to become headache inducing after a point. While the earlier films have also featured CGI blood splatter, several films and TV shows later, the formula feels less-than-inventive. The entire venture feels too bland to demand singular attention. The screenplay lumbers through its 103-minute runtime without much value addition to the franchise.

Verdict: The Forever Purge is the perfect example of an idea that takes directions it cannot quite justify. Unlike the previous movies that throbbed with a biting cynicism, The Forever Purge is a portrait of empty sentimentality with few insights.


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